Sheena Gayle, Youthlink Writer
Building a reputation of excellence is something that 13-year-old Jermaine Mills is keen on doing as he pursues his studies at Green Pond High School in Montego Bay. Despite his speech impediment, the eighth grader excels academically and is a leader among his peers, putting him Ahead of the Rest.
Youthlink (YL): What does leadership mean to you?
Jermaine Mills (JM): Leadership means being able to take control, but I prefer to work behind the scenes and get the job done. I am a bit shy but I am effective. Moses in the Bible was unassuming and he was called to lead the children out of Egypt, so I'd like to think of myself as unassuming but effective.
YL: Are you involved in any clubs? If so, what has the experience been like?
JM: I am in the Public Speaking Club but this was not by choice; I don't mind [though], because it helps me with my stuttering. It has really helped me to be a better communicator and to be able to speak more confidently.
YL: You continue to achieve excellent academic scores, what is youe secret or what do you do differently?
JM: To tell you the truth, there is no big secret. I listen attentively in class, read over my notes in the evenings after school and complete all my assignments before the due date so I can have time for other things. I guess that's what one would call my 'secret'. I'm not distracted easily.
YL: What role does your family play in helping you be the best person you can be?
JM: I live with my grandma, Miss Buela, whom I love very much. She helps me with my schoolwork and takes an interest in what I do. She encourages me and helps me to remain focused. She is my tower of strength and I appreciate her for being there.
YL: What are some of the things you like to do during your free time?
JM: I like to read, listen to music, participate in track-and-field events and play cricket and football. I do my best to participate in various activities at school.
YL: What are some of your accomplishments of which you are most proud?
JM: I won a first-place trophy for library skills, drama, information technology, home and family management and Spanish. At present, I'm the top-performing student for the second time around in the entire school, and I was also the Student of the Month for January of this year.